Intel has indicated that it predicts laptops and desktops to go high-resolution as early as next year, with the PC market following Apple into the world of the 'retina-class' display.
Unlike Apple's efforts, which are limited to small-scale screens on its iPhone and iPad products, Intel predicts that high-resolution displays will be the order of the day across ultrabooks, laptops and all-in-one systems.
High-resolution computer monitors are nothing new, of course, but typical laptops top out at 1920x1080. Intel's vision of the future, outlined in slides obtained by Liliputing
, sees 11in Ultabooks getting displays capable of 2560x1440, or around 250 pixels per inch.
The larger 13in Ultrabooks go a step further: Intel predicts that by 2013, these displays will offer a 2800x1800 native resolution, while 15in laptops will sit somewhere in the region of 3840x2160. Large-format 21in all-in-one systems, meanwhile, will offer a display of around 220 pixels per inch at 3840x2160.
The differing pixel densities, which sees hand-held devices hit 300 pixels per inch, laptops hit 250 pixels per inch and all-in-one systems hit 220 pixels per inch, should all allow for a 'retina'-like experience, Intel claims. The reason for this is the difference in viewing distances: the further away from the display you are, the lower the pixel density required to cause individual pixels to disappear and a smooth image appear in their place.
While Intel isn't confirming that future products will definitely come equipped with high-resolution displays - it can't, given that it doesn't actually make any display panels itself - it is warning that the ecosystem should start preparing as if it were a given.
There's plenty to do: as owners of Apple's new iPad are finding, having a high-resolution display is nothing without the infrastructure behind it. Web developers will need to ensure graphics are of a high enough resolution that they won't appear blocky or blurred, or switch to a scalable format such as SVG; games developers will need to use higher-resolution textures, which in turn means that graphics card makers will need to equip their hardware with more memory and higher processing power; even streaming media may have to look beyond the usual 1080p High Definition format to keep viewers happy.
Although Intel is predicting the appearance of high-resolution devices as early as next year, it will likely be a while before the format reaches majority saturation: industry watcher StatCounter revealed that 1366x768 has overtaken 1024x768 as the dominant screen resolution for web use on non-mobile platforms for the first time this week, despite manufacturers having standardised on widescreen displays for many years.